A flower crab spider, Misumena vatia.

Flower crab spiders, so called because they can walk sideways, are very common and show a great diversity in shape and colour. They can even change their colour to match their background over a period of time. They are ambush predators, normally favouring white or yellow flowers, relying on their camouflage to hide them from their prey. 

Both images taken in the reserve: a flower crab spider on creeping thistle by Simon Knight.

They do not chase or jump but wait on their flower until some pollinating insect walks into their wide open arms – even insects much bigger than themselves like Bumble Bees.  Their venom is very effective against invertebrates, killing within seconds, though almost harmless to humans. The spider then injects digestive enzymes into its victim’s innards and sucks it dry leaving a perfect empty husk.

by Ian Bushell

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